On 13th May 2022, a saddening news took the nation by storm. The beloved second President of UAE and the ruler of Abu Dhabi, late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan had passed away, after serving almost 18 years in office.

In 1966 when the Sheikh was 18 years old, Sheikh Zayed became the Ruler and moved to the capital. A couple years later, on February 1 ,1969, Sheikh Khalifa was appointed the Crown Prince and consequently took over the chairmanship of the Abu Dhabi Department of Defence. Upon the unity of the nation on December 2, 1971, Sheikh Khalifa would be the Prime Minister of the capital and its Defence and Finance Minister. In 1976, he was appointed as the Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of UAE. After being entrusted with many more titles and responsibilities, on November 3, 2004, he was elected as the President of UAE with Sheikh Mohammed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (current President of UAE) succeeding him as the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

Through Sheikh Khalifa’s time as the President of UAE and ruler of Abu Dhabi, he laid many milestones that paved way for the Emiratis today. Some of his most notable initiatives include the Dhs 2 billion Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development aimed to aid in the development of businesses and creating Emirati entrepreneurs. He attracted cultural and academic centers to Abu Dhabi, helping establish the Louvre Abu Dhabi, New York University Abu Dhabi, and Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi and also establishing the noteworthy Etihad Airways. The United Arab Emirates became a regional economic superpower under Sheikh Khalifa’s leadership, and its non-oil economy expanded. In his honour, the tallest building in the world was renamed from Burj Dubai to Burj Khalifa.

His kindness was exemplary and so, even leaders paid their respects from United Kingdom, United States of America, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Iran and many more nations.

A ruler of his people. A man of his words. A hope for the nation. Many words and phrases fall short for the praises the late President had gained through his time in office. May his soul rest in peace.